‘Does it guess easy? It must have a competition with us, my preciouss!’

What is creativity and how do you acquire it? Is it innate, learned, or is there magic juice you can squeeze on a child’s eyelids to engender it? My daughter likes to make things up, she talks a lot. People have called her creative; but her fluency with words comes from knowing a lot of stories. There is a battle going on over creativity among those … Continue reading ‘Does it guess easy? It must have a competition with us, my preciouss!’

‘How the hell do you hope to get a job when you never listen to anythin’?’

For two years, my daughter and I have been painfully climbing the Oxford Reading Tree (reading books used in 80% of UK primary schools). I agree that readers designed to improve literacy step by step are needed; but I wonder why the pace has to be so unbearably slow. Before the summer holidays we were on level 9: not as mind-numbing as levels 1-5 but, still, … Continue reading ‘How the hell do you hope to get a job when you never listen to anythin’?’

‘The system will still need you to compose symphonies’

I listen to music with my daughter on YouTube and Spotify; she likes YouTube because of the videos. I choose the songs. Often I choose music by written and, or, performed by women: Patti Smith, Nina Simone, Eliza Carthy, The Chordettes, 4 Non Blondes, the Be Good Tanyas, Joni Mitchell, Joan Armatrading, Sandy Denny, Aretha Franklin. (Click on the links and have a party!) Part of the … Continue reading ‘The system will still need you to compose symphonies’

‘The Chimes of Freedom Flashing’

I have always been surprised by the enthusiasm with which other parents seem to relish it when their children have the same stuff – and like the same stuff – as everyone else at school: ‘I sent him off for the first day of term with his new little Star Wars backpack and he just looked so lovely.’ I nod and agree: he probably did … Continue reading ‘The Chimes of Freedom Flashing’

“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

Facebook is after our children’s eyeballs, which should surprise no one. In December last year, Facebook launched ‘Messenger Kids’ for 6 – 12 year-olds; in May they ignored a petition signed by 21,000 child health advocates asking them to scrap it (Guardian, 2018).  Facebook tells us that their app is designed with the help of ‘experts’ and gives parents ‘control’. Messenger for Kids decorates the … Continue reading “God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”

“Smells of dust, the dust of time, Egyptian dust…”

Books are being pulped, (Unison, 2017) What else could happen when the schools, libraries and shops no longer require them? In my town there are two charity shops where you can buy a book for 25 pence; the same shops have recycling bins for the piles of useless pages they just can’t shift. Children don’t necessarily encounter too many of these paper dinosaurs: they have YouTube … Continue reading “Smells of dust, the dust of time, Egyptian dust…”